Education-based approach to marketing and sales

That’s what content marketing is. I know. I’m a content marketer (albeit a reluctant one… I hate to admit I’m one of them) myself! But this isn’t about content, it’s about education. So, we will “use” content for education — the next step. And since education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits it really can’t be quasi-active as content marketing is (or has come to be).

Here’s what I mean — we heavily rely on content marketing (blogs, videos, podcasts and the likes) and related-metrics to educate our audiences. But we also know that our job doesn’t really end there. So, we double down on our efforts hoping and praying that things would eventually work out.

In my opinion, webinars and live presentations (that may well be sales presentations) give the most bang for the buck when it comes to content marketing. Now, I am aware that is an established fact but I don’t see companies (at least the regular, next door ones) doing it often. Smaller companies with a much smaller footprint are ahead on this trend. And that is one of the key reasons for their success.

Here’s what I mean:

  1. Webinars or live online presentations (the sales kind perhaps) are more personal, educational and interactive compared to other forms of content marketing
  2. Interacting with real people online or offline (where you can see their faces or know for sure they’re virtually present to hear and see you) gives you the power and position to influence thinking and ignite their curiosity
  3. People, particularly the decision makers, love to buy from the experts (and that’s you) now that you have their time and attention

The points above simply means one thing:

You need to work hard (I mean really hard) to position yourself as an expert.

How do you do that? But ensuring that you know your stuff well. From the inside out. Unfortunately, that’s not something people (the regular marketers and salespeople) do. They choose to stay stuck with their limited service offers and repertoire of knowledge that’s limited to their product or its immediate competitor. I’m not sure that’ll cut it.

A consultant, for example, is a trusted advisor. Someone who would know something deep enough to make things matter to the ones listening to her. How can you be that person? Now, that’s a valuable question.

For starters, investing solid time in doing primary (or even secondary) research is a great start. You need to dig up and compile information that is useful to others. The kind of intel that people, your potential buyers, would love to pay money for! (If you’re thinking that’s what content marketing is or that’s why you have blogs… you’re missing the point) Once that’s nailed out you can continue marketing and distribute this whitepaper online and create a presentation off of it for your salesforce to deliver to their potential clients.

If you’re already doing this and is working, great! If not, well you’ve got a positioning problem. And the starts with asking them two questions:

  1. What’s in it for them?
  2. Why should they care?

If you can answer these question, you’ve potentially solved your challenge. I said potentially because this seems to be the hardest part for most teams for reasons I can’t fathom.

Teach, don’t sell!

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